This post is in continuation of our “Email Trick or Treat” blog series. If you’d like to start from the beginning check out our first and second posts on email tricks (common misconceptions) and treats (best practices).


You never want to put all of your candy into one basket when it comes to metrics. When you focus solely on improving and optimizing just one metric like your delivery, open, or click rate, your other stats can completely tank.

Say “No” to Clickbait

Let’s walk through a spooky scenario together. Your boss just let you know that you’re responsible for driving an additional 5% of traffic (on top of the normal traffic) to the company’s website from your email program this month. You’re on top of things and you know this just means you’ll need to increase your click through rate (CTR). So, you make a plan around increasing clicks…by employing some creepy clickbait tactics.

And that’s where it all goes downhill.

What is Clickbait?

If you’re not familiar with clickbait, Google defines it as, “content, especially that of a sensational or provocative nature, whose main purpose is to attract attention and draw visitors to a particular web page.” You’ve probably fallen victim to clickbait without fully realizing it–I know I have far too many times. It’s when your interest is piqued and curiosity wins out because of a statement like, “We couldn’t believe our eyes when she did THIS.” Well, now we have to know what “this” was, so we click through to find out. They laid the bait and we were hooked.

Now back to your scenario with your boss. Though you were just trying to do what your boss asked of you, you forgot the health and success of an email program is measured from the sum of many metrics and in trying to improve one, you can easily hurt the others. Yes, by using clickbait you probably received more clicks than usual and drove more traffic to your site–but at what cost? I’d bet maybe 1% of the time, the hook –“This is going to be the best thing you’ve EVER read!”–actually lives up to the promise, which leads to a pretty disappointing user experience. The consequences in this case would include high unsubscribes, or even worse, little to no engagement in the future.

As Jacob Hansen states in the video below, “one click is not enough, one open is not enough,” you have to keep in mind that the sum of many metrics determine the health of your email program.


The key to maintaining a healthy, successful email program is to put value in the user relationship and encourage engagement with your brand! For more information around creating a healthy email program, check out our SlideShare Email Marketing 101: Strategy.

Kate Schmeisser
When Kate isn't trying to teach herself the ukelele, make it through the mountain of books on her nightstand, or figure out if they are actually being serious about suggested serving sizes on ice cream, she is the Creative Content Manager.